Techniques for Replicating Intermittent Bugs in Software Testing

Techniques for Replicating Intermittent Bugs in Software Testing

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Intermittent bugs, those elusive glitches that appear sporadically and are hard to replicate, are a common challenge in software testing. These issues can be particularly frustrating as they often slip through the cracks during regular testing processes. This guide provides actionable techniques to help you identify and replicate these intermittent bugs, ensuring your software maintains high quality and reliability.

Understanding Intermittent Failures

First, it’s essential to recognize that intermittent failures are a norm in quality engineering. Accepting this reality and allocating sufficient resources to address these issues is crucial. Here are some effective techniques to tackle intermittent bugs:

1. Allocate Sufficient Resources

Be prepared to invest significant time and resources into fixing intermittent failures. It may take days or even weeks to identify and resolve these issues.

2. Collect Examples

Gather as many instances of the bug as possible. Sometimes, patterns only emerge after reviewing multiple occurrences of the issue.

3. Run Tests Multiple Times

Execute the problematic test locally at least 100 to 1000 times. This method can help identify patterns or conditions under which the bug appears.

4. Review Test Setups

Ensure that tests are not sharing any data, even reference data. Isolate tests to prevent interference and data dependency issues.

5. Use Implicit Waits

For elements, use implicit waits instead of explicit waits (sleeps) to handle timing issues more gracefully. This approach can reduce the likelihood of intermittent failures due to timing discrepancies.

6. Enhance Logging

Implement detailed logging to capture more information about specific incidents. This data can be invaluable for diagnosing intermittent bugs.

7. Run Tests on CI Server

Execute the test 100 or 1000 times on your continuous integration (CI) server. This repetitive testing can help reveal intermittent issues that only occur under certain conditions.

Useful Information for Investigations

When investigating intermittent bugs, consider the following factors:

  • Browser and browser version
  • User type
  • Use of AJAX
  • Time of day
  • Screen size
  • Use of JavaScript
  • Frequency over time
  • Various resource IDs
  • Function being performed
  • Relation to release pushes or reboots

Additional Techniques

Here are some more advanced techniques to consider:

8. Perform a Binary Search on the Problem Space

Identify a short list of possible factors causing the issue. Perform tests that can eliminate half of these factors in each iteration, similar to a binary search.

9. Analyze from Different Perspectives

Consider different perspectives, such as data-related dependencies, multi-threaded environments, and detailed user actions. Capturing more logs and connecting to the same database where the issue was reported can provide valuable insights.

10. Organizational Considerations

Address organizational aspects, such as ticketing systems and user communication. Ensure users report the bug consistently and provide feedback to keep them engaged in the resolution process.

Leverage No-Code Test Automation with Repeato

While these techniques are effective, they can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. This is where Repeato, our no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android, can make a significant difference. Repeato allows you to create, run, and maintain automated tests quickly and efficiently using computer vision and AI. This approach can help you identify and replicate intermittent bugs faster, ensuring your apps are robust and reliable.

For more information on setting up and using Repeato, visit our Getting Started page.

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